Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fun (not) in the Sun...

The Facts

We spent a very quick weekend at the beach.

His Side

I’m pale. There’s no sugarcoating it. I sunburn easily and have to cake on the sunscreen if I’m going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time. With that, I am not one of these people that likes to spend all day at the beach hanging out, tanning, frolicking in the ocean (where sharks can eat you), and making sand castles. I do, however, enjoy “going to the beach.” I put that in quotation marks because “going to the beach” can also mean traveling to a location that is located near an ocean. Those locations are usually pretty nice to visit. Recently we “went to the beach” for a lightening quick weekend vacation with my dad’s side of the family.

We both left work Friday at 5:30pm and, as quickly as possible, took Fletcher over to my mother-in-law’s house so she could watch him for a few days. Then we scarfed down some food and hit the road. Three hours later, we were in Myrtle Beach hugging family members and relaxing. Those three hours were good and bad. They went by rather quickly because Kristi and I jammed to some music on my iPod and, once she was tired of my music, her iPod. It was fun but that drive is horrible. If you’ve ever driven from Columbia to Myrtle Beach, you know what I’m talking about. There are a bunch of back roads that have stop lights and only one lane going each way. It’s not a fun drive. 

We went to sleep in the king bed our room had (you know we love that) and woke up the next day at 8 or so to start our only full day of vacation. After getting some food in us, we headed to this go kart place with six different tracks. It was pretty cool but, after experiencing only two of the tracks, the rain started. And, when it started… it REALLY started. Out of nowhere it was a torrential downpour. That kind of weather isn’t very conducive to whipping around a go kart track and our tickets were good all day, so we decided to come back later. What did we do for the time being? Shop! My favorite! 

Tanger Outlets are like a woman’s Mecca. I don’t see the allure, but I don’t have to. I just have to go. I do have to say, though, that shopping with Kristi isn’t so bad. When we do shop, it’s reasonably quick. If nothing strikes her fancy, then we move on. There isn’t a lot of lingering. Also, this particular Tanger location had a Jared Vault which I had never heard of (I work for Sterling which owns Jared). So I wanted to check it out. We had checked everything out we wanted to within an hour or so. But we stayed at the outlets for four more hours. Why? Because of poor customer service and a big debacle that got me a bit heated (and I don’t anger easily). I don’t really want to go into much detail but what really upset me is that, because of poor customer service, we waited around for almost four hours when we should have been spending that time with family. My parents were with us, so at least we got to spend some time with them (even though it was frustrated, angry time).

In the Atlantic Ocean
Once we finally left, we had a nice dinner with everyone which was wonderful. We even went down to the beach as the sun was setting. We didn’t stay long but at least we actually went! Then we played some games (my family is very competitive) and got to bed because we had to leave early the next morning to drive some more. Yay!

We headed to Charleston the next day (another two and half hours in the car) because my brother had a white coat ceremony (he started med school on Monday) and we were going to meet up with Kristi’s cousin. We got there just in time for the ceremony and it didn’t last as long as it could have. That was nice because we were wanting to get back and take Fletcher off of my mother-in-law’s hands. Meeting up with Kristi’s cousin was nice, too. We had seen her in Idaho not too long before, but getting a chance to see family is always nice. It was ridiculous to find parking in Charleston on King Street, but it worked out just fine because the coffee shop where we met Kristi’s cousin was two blocks from where we were meeting my family for lunch! Lunch was tasty but, for the price, they didn’t give you very much food. It was good food, but it seemed like you should get more for your money. Unfortunately, though, after lunch we couldn’t join them for dessert at a local chocolatier because it was getting late and we had to get ready for our work week. Which means… you guessed it… more driving! This drive wasn’t as long but it seemed to go by so much more slowly because we were just ready to be home. 

It was hectic and way too fast, but it was still a fun weekend and we were very glad we got to spend time with family. Now, we only have a short week and it’s time for a longer, less hectic vacation for our anniversary. We can’t wait!

Her Side

Kristi + Beach = not a great mix.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the breeze from the ocean or the laid back atmosphere that comes with being at the beach. I don’t like the sun because I burn at the first ray of sun that touches my porcelain skin. Normally, the whole point of going to the beach is to bask in the glorious sun until you can’t stand it any longer. Thankfully, our weekend trip to the beach was pretty much the opposite. Nolan and I left for Myrtle Beach as soon as we got off work, ate dinner, packed up the car, and took Fletcher to my mom’s house.

While neither of us care to be in a car for extended periods of time (especially when back roads are involved), it was tolerable because we had fun listening to music and chatting. We had some interesting sights on our way to the beach and were so glad to see family once we finally made it! We did some quick catching up with the family that was awake and then decided to call it a night and retreat to our KING BED! If you know anything about us, you know we LOVE a king bed; so it was a great surprise that we got to sleep in one on our short jaunt to the beach.

View from the balcony
Saturday was to be our only full day of vacation, so we woke up early to get ready for whatever the day was to entail. It just so happened that there was a Grand Prix style go-cart track not too far from where we were staying; so we all packed up and got ready to race. We got our tickets and made our way to the “slick track,” which wasn’t all that fun since it just went around in circles. Although I don’t think that one was meant to be fun, but merely serve the purpose of getting you used to the way the go carts handled.

If you know anything about Nolan, you know that he’s super competitive. So I was ecstatic when I PASSED him on this track. I threw my fist up in the air to celebrate my victory and a huge grin washed over my face. If you ask Nolan, he would say he wasn’t trying to keep me from passing him… I think he’s just saying that to make the fact that his wife passed him not hurt so much.

After the slick track, we made our way to the first “real” track of the day which ended up being the ONLY real track we rode on. I chose my car out methodically… actually I didn’t. I chose it because I like the color blue. As we began the race, I had nothing but obliterating the competition on my mind. I was cognizant of the turns and that someone was likely on my tail, so I took the shortest route around each one and would use my peripheral vision to decide if I need a quick move to the right or left. I’m happy to report that not a soul passed me that entire race, but I definitely left some people in the dust… one of those people happened to be my husband. Yep, I beat him again! Sweet victory! As we made our way to the next track, the sky let loose and we were powerless against Mother Nature. Knowing that it would be a while before the track would be able to open back up, we decided to spend the time shopping at the Tanger Outlets (a place that Nolan simply loves… NOT).

Once there, we walked in and out of stores and ate some not so healthy but oh so delicious Chinese food. We honestly weren’t intending on spending a ton of time shopping, but things don’t always work out how we plan. So, for reasons outside of our control and because when your mother-in-law lights up when she sees the perfect item she has been looking for for years (not an exaggeration), you want to make it happen at any cost. Even if that means time spent aimlessly wandering around an outdoor mall on a super hot and humid South Carolina day, you do it.

Once done at the Tanger Outlets, and since more time had passed than originally planned, we went straight back to our place for dinner instead of back to the go carts to finish out our day of racing. Dinner was delicious and time spent with family was even better. Our only full day of the beach weekend sped by and before we knew it we were curled up in bed.

The next day we were in the car yet again and off to Charleston to see my brother-in-law at his White Coat Ceremony for MUSC (Congrats, Justin!) The ceremony was nice and was greatly anticipated by all of those in attendance, but as soon as it was over Nolan and I snuck out to meet up with my cousin, Ellen, in downtown Charleston. We had a lovely time catching up with her at a local coffee spot and, before we knew it, our late lunch time had arrived. So, we met up with Nolan’s family again. Funny story here… We were meeting Ellen right off of King Street and knew that the place we would be meeting for lunch was on King Street as well but had no idea where they were in relation to one another. When driving into town to meet my cousin, we decided to grab the first parking spot we could find (which is a hard find and hot commodity down there).  Little did we know that we parked two blocks away from the coffee shop and one store front away from the restaurant… I love it when things work out like that!

Lunch was great and conversation was plentiful, but it was nearly late afternoon and Nolan and I needed to get home to our precious Fletcher. So, we said our goodbyes and left for Columbia. Even though the drive from Charleston to Columbia is the shortest out of all of the ones we took that weekend, it was the most painful one by far. Perhaps it’s because we wanted to get home and get ready for the week ahead, or perhaps we were just over being in the car… either way it wasn’t fun.

Spending time with family is always fun and I’m so thankful that we both have families that we LOVE being around.

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